THE CONTROVERSY WITH NIHILIANISM.
The history of our Dogma down to the present time, has shown us that, owing to the predominance given to the divine aspect of the Person of Christ, since the fifth century, the idea of the God-man has heen ceaselessly threatened with Docetism, even though in a form which became every day more subtile and refined. This danger was averted solely by the aid of the West, which played the most important part in establishing the duality of the natures, and on the basis thereof, the duality of wills, activities, and modes of operation. Regarded from this point of view, therefore, Adoptianism was merely an exaggeration of Western orthodoxy. But from the ninth century downwards, we find the West yielding to the very same temptation to dissipate the human aspect, with which it had itself always done battle in the East. When Adoptianism endeavoured consistently to follow out the Western tendency to assert the duality of the natures, the Church pronounced its condemnation, and, in the act of doing so, began unconsciously to controvert the premises, along with the consequences drawn from them.
It was not, indeed, the old form of Docetism or Eutychianism, or Monophysitism, that was now revived; for the traditional custom of rejecting the old heresies still continued to prevail. But the true vital interest of piety concentrated itself, as we have shown, on surrogates of Christ, which left Him, in reality, merely the significance of a past incarnation of the Logos.
A general indication of the retrocession of the human aspect of Christ into the background, during the Middle Ages, is the great influence acquired by the Mysticism of the Areopagite in the West subsequently to the time of Erigcna, and which it retained, even after that teacher's authority had begun to be regarded with suspicion. Another sign of the same thing we have found in the oldest Mysticism of the Middle Ages,— that, namely, of the two St Victors. Now, however, it is our task to consider the Scholasticism of the Church, properly so called.
I. Peter The Lombard discussed the subject of Christology in the third book of his Sentences (Distinct, i.-xxiii.); treading pretty closely in the footseps of John of Damascus. The characteristic feature of his inquiry, to which alone we shall devote our attention, will furnish a fair sample of the scholastic art of displaying acuteness and skill, in the putting of new, or the answering of old, questions which only remotely affect religious interests. He is of opinion, that the incarnation might have been accomplished also by the Father or by the Holy Spirit; but it was fitting that He who created the world, should be the one to deliver it;—especially fitting, that He should be sent on the mission who had proceeded from another, rather than He who was self-existent. "The Son is sent by Him, of whom He was born" (in which, unquestionably, an element of Subordinatianism is involved). Other reasons assigned by Peter are purely formal; as, for example,—The Son was chosen for the work, in order that the same who in the Trinity is Father, might not be the Son in the sphere of Revelation, and the two thus cease to be correlatives (Distinct, i.); as would have been the case, had the Father become incarnate. The human nature which the Son assumed, was not a mere attribute, but a nature; comprising body and soul, or the substance of humanity. Body and soul are not, it is true, one substance; but each person has two natures or substances,—the corporeal and the spiritual: and the Son assumed the one essence of humanity, to which both the corporeal and the spiritual pertain. This He assumed in such a manner, that the humanity which He derived from the Virgin, purified by the Holy Spirit, was free from any stain of sin; yet, because He willed it, the punishment which clung to humanity remained. The Virgin, also, was previously entirely purified from sin, nay, even from the charms of sin ;—according to some, by their annihilation; according to others, by so abating them, that she never afterwards had the opportunity of sinning. The Holy Ghost also endowed her with the capacity of being fruitful without the co-operation of a man (Dist. iii.). Although as to the flesh He was in the loins of Adam and Abraham, He did not sin in Adam, as Augustine teaches; for He did not spring from them in consequence of the concupiscence of the flesh: —in this respect, He was not in the loins of the forefathers.
The part taken by the Son in the incarnation was, and continues to be, unquestionably the principal thing; but it excludes neither the action of the Holy Spirit, nor the action of the Father. According to Augustine, the works of the Trinity cannot be divided. But Christ's humanity is not of the substance of the Holy Ghost; nor can He be called the Son of the Holy Ghost, although, in so far as this latter prepared the material in Mary which was to be united with the Word, Christ may be said to have been begotten by Him (Dist. iv.).
He devotes more attention to the question,—Whether the personality or the nature of the Son assumed humanity,—be it the personality or the nature of the humanity (see above, p. 153). This is easy of answer, in so far as neither the nature nor the personality of the Son assumed a human personality; but rather the personality of the Son appropriated human nature. But the question still remains,—Whether it was the nature of the Son that appropriated human nature ?—And this is unanswered. The sixth and eleventh Councils of Toledo (in the years 597 and 653) decided that the Son alone, and not the Trinity, constituted man a part of His own individual person; but did not take him into unity of nature—of that nature which He had in common with the whole Trinity. The divine nature is the element of unity in the Trinity: Mary did not give birth to this element of unity, but merely to the Son, although the whole Trinity co-operated in the formation of the man who was assumed. Augustine, on the contrary, seems to have held that the nature which belongs to the Father as well as to the Son became man. In his work, "de Trinitate" (lib. i. cap. vii. 11), he says,—"When Christ took upon Him the form of a servant, He stooped beneath Himself; for He did not lose in it that divine form which constituted Him the equal of the Father." Now this " divine form" must denote the fulness of the divine nature (Note 55). Similar also are the words of Hilary and Jerome. Peter himself decides,—that the personality of the Son assumed human nature; but he also thinks, that the divine nature too united itself with, and appropriated the human to itself, through and in the Son. It is true, of course, that the two persons, Father and Holy Ghost, did not assume the form of a servant; but the divine nature was not therefore excluded from the incarnation.1 When the teachers of the Church say,—That which was peculiar to the Son, and not that which is common to the whole Trinity, assumed a man;—they must be understood to mean, that— Not equally in all the three persons, but, strictly speaking, in that of the Son alone, did the divine nature unite itself with the human. Such also was the opinion of John of Damascus (L. iii. cap. vi.). He intends to say, that the fulness of the divine nature, and not merely a portion thereof, was united with humanity in the Person of the Son. Still he is of opinion, that the expression, " The divine nature became flesh," were better not used. Every individual man has the whole of human nature in himself, and yet something may be predicated of the one which cannot be predicated of others. This is an argument which sounds somewhat tritheistic, so far as it would seem to imply that the only unity in God is a generic unity: —a view which he is otherwise far from adopting. Supposing, however, he here also regarded the divine nature realistically, as the element common to the persons, he would be compelled to limit the incarnation to the Person of the Son (as did Anselm), excluding His nature; unless he were prepared to maintain that the Father and the Spirit also became incarnate, at all events, as to their nature. But if the entire fulness of the divine essence is contained in the nature, and the nature took no part in the incarnation, in what sense can the incarnation have been really of benefit to humanity? A personality without its nature is empty, unsubstantial:—the incarnation of God would then have been a mere illusion. The difficulty is therefore not overcome. Peter adds,—The divine nature did, it is true, assume the human, that is, united the human form with itself; but it did not admit it to full unity with itself, and constitute it a part of its own distinctive individuality. The natures retained their individual characteristics; and therefore we cannot so much say that the divine nature became man, as that the Son of God became man. He did not, however,
1 The Lateran Council of the year 1215 (Mansi xxii. 981) made use even of the expression, "Unigenitus Dei lilius J. Ch. a tota Trinitato communiter incarnatus."
assume a human personality. For that flesh and that soul which He assumed, had not yet heen united into a person ;— they were first united with each other at the moment when they were united with the Word. Previously there had existed no such person, consisting of body and soul; but a person was constituted by the act of assumption. What the Word assumed was not a person, compounded of soul and body,—the Word did not receive a human person; but, receiving body and soul, it united them with each other and with itself, and in the very act of uniting them, received them. But the main question would then be,—What conception are we to form of this receiving and this uniting?1 This leads him on to that discussion (Dist. vi.), which drew upon him the charge of Nihilianism (Dist. vi. vii.).
He proceeds to investigate the questions,—What is the significance of the incarnation of the Son of God? and,—What may be said to be its result? In his usual manner, he asks "the wise" of former days and of the present, and classifies their views under three divisions. The first, which may be most conveniently described as that of Cyrill of Alexandria, is most adequately expressed when we say, not merely that God became man, but also that man became God,—the latter, indeed, arising out of the former. From this view, it would appear that God then began to be what He had not been before —to wit, a rational being of the human species; and that that rational human being began to be God, not by nature, nor by merit, but by grace;— humanity having been predestinated in Christ to be the Son of God. According to this view, humanity, through Christ, was transfused into, without perishing in, the being of God; and that, because deity appropriated it to itself, and constituted it an integral element of its own being.
The second view was substantially the one prevalent in the Church, upheld especially by John of Damascus. According to it, the meaning of the proposition, " God became man," is, that God began to subsist in two natures, or to consist of three substances—body, soul, and deity; but, on the other hand, the meaning of the proposition, "man became God," is, that Jesus Christ is only one person,—prior to the incarnation, simple; subsequent to the incarnation, compounded of deity and humanity. Now, as the person did not become another than it was before, 1 See Note O, App. ii.
but the same person which was simple became also the personality of the man, it may be said that the man became God. Not that that person itself then first began to exist, but merely that it then became the personality of the man, or, in other words, composite. This one person, so far as it was distinct from the Father and the Spirit, had constituted the distinctive characteristic of the Divine Sonship of the Word of God: it constituted also that characteristic of the humanity by which it was distinguished from the Virgin Mother, and from the rest of men. Both natures remained entire in Christ: after the union, however, they were no longer as separate and distinct parts, but as parts combined with each other to form one compound hypostasis. This is a substantial, that is, a true union. Not that out of two natures was formed a third, one, compound nature; but they were simply united to form the one compound Person of the Son of God :—that which was created remained a creature, and that which was uncreated remained uncreated; the mortal remained mortal, the immortal immortal; and so also the circumscribed remained circumscribed, and the uncircumscribed remained uncircumscribed.
In the third place, he adduces the view which denies not merely that divine being became human, and human divine; but also, that out of the two natures was formed one compound nature;—nay more, which denies that a man at all, or a substance consisting of body and soul, was compounded or brought into being by the incarnation. The union did not have the effect of producing or compounding one nature or person out of two or three (body, soul, and deity); but merely of clothing the Word of God with body and soul as with a garment (indumentum), in order that He might appear in a form accommodated to the eyes of men. Accordingly, Christ did not admit those two into the unity of His person in such a way as that they themselves, or a being compounded out of them, became one person with the AVord, much less (as some suppose) were transformed into the Word. They were admitted merely so far as their admission involved no increase in the number of persons; and that because the personality of the Word, which previously had been without garment, was neither divided nor altered by the assumption, but remained unalterably one and the same. On this view, God became man merely in the way of possession, or as to the appearance which He assumed, that is, "secundum habitum,"—a formula which may, indeed, in itself be variously explained, but which always denotes something that is superadded to another, that pertains to it accidentally, so that that to which it is added might exist without it. Nor does it make any difference whether the addition produce an alteration in either the one or the other, or in both, or no alteration at all. In the present instance, the expression denotes that the nature of the accidental superadded element was not altered, but simply assumed another shape and form, just as a garment laid aside has not the same shape as it had when it was worn. When the Son took upon Himself a true man, that is, a true body and a soul, His form (habitus) was found to be that of a man; in other words, having a man, He was found as a man: not, however, being a man in Himself, but merely in relation to those to whom He appeared in humanity. This, moreover, is the meaning of the words, " God became man ;" even as man is said to have become God, on the ground of the assumption of humanity by God. God, therefore, became like men: not that He was transformed into a man, but was clothed with a man, whom, by uniting to some extent with, and making equal to, Himself, He intended to marry with immortality.1
The first of these three classes of views,—the one which laid hold on the idea of a real God-manhood with most force and energy,—he despatches pretty summarily with the observation (Dist. vii.), that if that substance had begun to be God, and God, on the other hand, had begun to be it, there would be a substance which was not always God, and a substance which is not divine would be God: consequently, God would have become that which He had not always been; for to become anything, involves the not having been it previously. But against the second view, also, he raises all sorts of objections; above all, the objection, that if the Person of Christ were a composite one, God and man must be designated parts thereof. Now, had the Son of God been merely a part of this person, prior to His assumption of the servant's form, He must have been merely a part, and not a whole; and must, therefore, have undergone an
1 Dist vi. "Verum hominem suscipiendo habitus (ejus) inventus est ut homo, id est, habendo hominem inventus est ut homo, non sibi sed eis, quibus in homine appurait."
increase, through the accession of the humanity to the deity. But if the Son of God is not a part of the Person of Christ, how can we say that this person consisted, or was compounded, of God and man? This, many concede, he proceeds to urge, and say,—Undoubtedly the parts of a whole do coalesce,—the result being, that something is constituted out of them which previously did not exist; but the principle cannot be applied in the present case; for this Unio is not to be regarded in the light of an union of parts, but is a mystery. In the last place (Dist. vi.), favourably to the remaining third view, he adduces the positive consideration, that if God were essentially man, or man God, then, if God had assumed humanity in the female sex (as He might have done), woman would have been essentially God, and God essentially woman. Against this third view, which essentially relaxes the bond of the Unio, and attributes to the humanity the mere significance of a permanent theophany,—nay more, which expressly teaches that the Son was not conscious of Himself as a man, but was merely a man in relation to men,—he raises no objections whatever.
Closely connected with this view, is his idea that Christ was a Mediator solely as to His human nature.1 Now, as the humanity was but a non-essential, accidental feature of the Son of God, and had in no sense become a determination of His person, its only end and aim being the manifestation of Christ to others; nay more, as God could have rendered help, had He so willed, otherwise than by appearing in a man (Dist. xx.),—human nature is thus reduced to the position of an impersonal thing and a non-essential means. But he does not represent the divine nature as so intimately united with the human, its garment, that the mediatorial significance of the latter could also be referred to the former. On the contrary, the divine nature rather remained apart by itself, and we are reconciled with the Son of God, even as we are reconciled with the Father and the Holy Spirit: but by the Son of God we are reconciled only in the sense in which we are reconciled by the Father and the Spirit. The entire Trinity blots out our sins; and Christ is termed Mediator solely on account of His humanity, not on account of His divinity. By means of the former He mediates between humanity and the triune
1 For this reason Stankarus appeals to him with peculiar fondness.
God, especially as an example of obedience. We see, at the same time, therefore, that redemptive virtue is attributed to the humanity in itself,—a virtue which might easily be supposed to be transferred to others, especially as it does not, strictly speaking, inhere in the mediatorial beings themselves. God, in His good pleasure, instead of effecting the reconciliation without mediators, as He might do, chooses to treat mediatorial services as though they possessed mediatorial virtue. In reality, however, almost the only part here left for Christ to play, was that of setting forth, by His sufferings, the eternal reconciledness of God, and of thus awakening men to love, and humbly to follow His example.
According to the view which the Lombard seems finally to adopt, God did not become objectively a man in Christ, but the humanity of God had an existence solely in, the representations and notions of the human mind—representations and notions which He intended to take such a form. God clothed Himself objectively with the garment of humanity in order to appear as man. So also the reconciliation was not, strictly speaking, really effected by Christ; but His appearance and sufferings were merely objective occurrences, intended to be regarded by God and man as having brought about the reconciliation.1 The ancient Christian idea, that in Christ humanity was exalted to the divine throne and to a participation in the divine nature, he totally repudiated; and supposed himself to be justified in so doing by the circumstance, that highly esteemed teachers of the Church had found fault with the expression, "homo dominicus" (iiwptaiio?).2
It is perfectly clear from this, that the Lombard must necessarily protest most decidedly, not only against Adoptianism, but against every approximation towards conceiving the humanity as personal ;3 naturally, also, he could not but say regarding Christ,
1 Dist. lix.: "Factus est homo mortalis ut moriendo diabolum vinceret;" in order that the devil might not be conquered "injuste et violenter," the victory must be gained by a man. "Per ipsius pcenam—omnia poena Ttlaxatur.—Secundum humanam naturam mediat Deo Trinitati."
2 This was, however, not meant to favour Docetism, but to counteract Ebionitism.
3 "Quod per se sonat," he regards as personal; the human nature, however, was never "per se sonaris," but was united with and subsisted in the Logos.
who merely had humanity, and was its vehicle and bearer, but was not Himself a man, that He is to be worshipped, that He is sinless, omniscient, and so forth. He could not, it is true, entirely evade the question, Does not Luke say that His humanity increased in years, wisdom, and favour with God and man? But, limiting, as he does, the humanity of Christ to impersonality, no other course was open to him than to say, that Jesus was full of grace and wisdom from the very moment of His conception. In Him was the fulness of the Godhead, and not merely particular gifts of the Spirit, as is the case with the saints. These latter are not like the Head, which unites all the senses within itself; but merely like members, which have their share of the senses. Christ did undoubtedly grow in grace and wisdom,—not, however, in Himself, but in those who grew through Him: for, consonantly to the various stages through which humanity passes, He revealed the wisdom and grace that were in Him in ever greater measure, and thus summoned men to praise God. Hence, he says, regarding the soul of Christ, that it knew all that God knows, though everything was not so clear and transparent to it as to the Creator: for it was a creature, and the creature cannot in any respect be equal to the Creator. Christ had knowledge without limit; but still the wisdom of God was much higher and more complete;—that is, Christ had wisdom so far as His human nature was capable of having it. But whereas His soul was by nature susceptible of knowing all things (naturaliter capax), though not quite clearly, it was not constituted susceptible of the ability to do everything, lest it should be considered almighty, and thus be taken for God (Dist. xiv.). So also Christ was omnipresent, as "totus," —that is, as to His hypostasis; but not "totum,"—that is, according to His whole nature, for He was also a man (Dist. xxii.).
These last features show that the fundamental idea of the Lombard, is substantially that of the school of Antioch,—the idea, namely, that deity and humanity are absolutely incommensurable, and must, consequently, continue separate and distinct. The ancient school of Antioch employed two principal modes of expression, namely: either, Jesus was the wo? &eov derbs, merely adopted into unity with the Son of God; or, He was the temple, the garment of God. The former was appropriated by Adoptianism, from a more vital interest in asserting the reality of the humanity; the latter, in order to define the precise limits of the union. Nihilianism also appropriated the latter, but not the former. Both expressions degrade the incarnation of the Word to a mere relation to humanity, and, agreeably to the conception of God on which they are based^ so relax the tie between the two, that a mere eva>ais ayerua) remains. In so far, therefore, Nihilianism may be designated the continuation of the school of Antioch. Adoptianism adopted the view of the Unio as a relation, with the ethical intention of asserting the full and real humanity of Christ: of such an intention the Lombard, on the contrary, shows no trace whatever. Strictly speaking, he is concerned not about carrying out the Christological thought,— for he rather allows it to drop out of view,—but about giving the traditional doctrine such a turn as would involve the evasion of the real problem, and would leave the impossibility of a real union of the deity and humanity, which his conception of the Creator led him to maintain, to be acquiesced in, notwithstanding the incarnation. For an incarnation such as that taught by the Lombard is a mere illusion.
IL The proposition of the Lombard, that God did not become anything through the incarnation which He was not before, differs in reality very little from that other: the incarnation effected, posited nothing; that is, it was, strictly speaking, a mere theophany. In a word, Nihilianism does away with the real incarnation, and leaves us, in its place, a simple relation of God to humanity. It gave such scandal, therefore, that the Lateran Council, in the year 1179, under Alexander III., condemned it, and several works were written against it. To this connection especially belongs the work of John of Cornwall.1 He shows with great prolixity that the Holy Scriptures describe Christ as a man, consequently, as something co-existing with other beings of like nature, which took their rise in time. We must, therefore, allow that God did really become something. The opposite opinion would lead to (Manichaeism) Docetism. Nor are we to understand by this humanity which
1 Joannis Corunbiensis Eulogium ad Alex. Pap. III. in Martene Thea. nora anecd. v. 1657. See also Baur a. a. 0. ii. 563-569.
God became, mere attributes, but a substantial thing—body and soul. Still, even he is far from deeming the term "homo" to denote anything else than the "natura humana" (body and soul). The formula, "God became man, and man God," he took to mean merely, that "the divine personality (without the divine nature) became man, that is, became human nature; and human nature became divine personality, not, however, deity or divine nature." But the Lombard was not to be confuted by dogmatical proofs; still less was the Christology of the Church shown to be acting consistently with itself when it repudiated Nihilianism, whilst it had itself, at the same time, reduced the humanity of Christ to an impersonal substance, by the act of rejecting Adoptianism. Nihilianism did but give naive utterance, as it were, to the secret of that Christology, which, notwithstanding its desire to maintain the incarnation in a sense different from a theophany, either represents the humanity of Christ as impersonal, as a mere garment of God, or allows the abstract Person of the Logos alone and not the deity, that is, the divine nature, to take part in the incarnation. By a very similar method, even before the time of the Lombard, Abaelard had got rid of the proper idea of the incarnation. As we have already remarked, he started with a more Sabellian conception of God. The Lombard also was charged with the same thing by the Abbot Joachim. God, says he, is absolutely unchangeable :* for this reason, it is impossible that He should have become something which He was not eternally; least of all could He become anything created, or a body, which undoubtedly pertains to humanity. He therefore ventured to do what Peter the Lombard durst not venture on doing, namely, to reject the old Church formulas, " God is man," "Man became God," on grounds similar to those which were advanced by the school of Antioch. But whereas the Lombard deduced his conclusion rather from the impersonality of the human nature, and so far, therefore, even in the act of returning to
1 Introductio ad Thelog. iii. 1126, ed. Paris, 1616. God is everywhere present "secundum substantiam ;" but unequally present "secundum operationis efficaciam." He is not present in a particular place, by a "localis adventus." In Christ, the humanity was exalted, the deity tempered: electrum, as a mixture of gold and silver, designates the constitution of Christ (p. 737).
the Antiochean formulas of the "garment," or "temple," adhered more rigidly to the path pursued by the doctrine of the Church, which gave to the divine nature of the Person of Christ the decided predominance;—Abaelard, on the contrary, laid more stress on the subjective human aspect. The affirmation, "God did not become anything in and through the incarnation," denoted, therefore, as used by him, "in the man Jesus, God worked:" that the Son became incarnate, and not the Father, taught him that "in Jesus the wisdom of God revealed itself, in order to lead men to salvation by doctrine and example."1 God and man are so absolutely separated by their very idea (according to Abaelard), that an incarnation is an impossibility. And inasmuch as he further considered the omnipresence of God to involve His being veritably and necessarily everywhere, God cannot move to a place, as to His essence. Being everywhere equally present, then, as to His essence, if He be present differently in different creatures, it can only relate to the action of His will and intelligence. But as the will and intelligence of God, ought to have been conceived by Abaelard, to be quite as omnipresent as His essence, it would be consistent to say, that the differences in the divine indwelling arose from the different degrees of susceptibility in the creatures, as did the school of Antioch.
HI. Even as early as the thirteenth century, Scholasticism ceased to take the same interest in the task devolved upon it, of further developing Christology. This is evident enough from the poorly concealed repugnance which it betrayed to the idea of an incarnation; but it is as strikingly as possible shown by the fact, that it did not at all distinctly refer the work of redemption to the incarnation. Anselm was almost the only one who regarded the God-manhood as necessary to redemption.
1 Abael. Theol. Christ, iv. o. 13, in Martene Thes. v. 1307 f. "Sapientiam Dei in came esse, tale est, carnales id est homines hac incarnatione verse sapientue lumen suscepisse et cum nostra mortalitatis testam luce sua accendisse." By His walk, death, and resurrection "nos instruxit et docuit."—" Cum itaque in omnibus qu» in carne gesserit dominus, nostr» sit eruditionis intentio, recte sola incarnari Sapientia dicitur, et in carne quam accepit ista nobis exhibuisse, quia ad hoc omnia gessit in carne, ut nos vera erudiret sapientia, quae ad salutem sufficerent.—Qute in carne gessit dominus, ad doctrinam pertinent."
Even so far as it is acknowledged at all, this unity of God and man ought, according to the Lombard, to he left out of consideration: to the humanity alone should a mediatorial significance be attached. In consequence of the misgivings which now showed themselves afresh, and which were not at all satisfactorily laid, a schism was produced in the camp. Fissures also began to be visible in the Christological edifice, which were rather concealed than repaired. This was the effect, for example, of the question,—Does not the doctrine of the compound Person of the God-man imply that the Son of God was but a part of a whole? or of the question,—Is not an incarnation of the entire Trinity a consequence of supposing that the Son of God became man, not merely as to His Person, but also as to His nature? When so many decided that the person alone became man, and not the nature of the Son, that is, the deity; and when, further, this decision was given forth without being visited with ecclesiastical censure, does it not prove that the significance of the incarnation had been reduced to the smallest possible measure, notwithstanding that the word itself was retained? We see that the edifice of Christology built on the old foundations already shows signs of decay; that it was impotent to exert a fructifying and regulative influence on the new questions and tasks, which daily presented themselves. The position now taken up towards the inherited doctrine of the Person of Christ, becomes similar to that which the Antiocheians, Pelagians, and, at a later period, the Areopagite, took up to the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity. Still there remained one green branch; it showed itself, as it were, from between the fissures in the walls of the ancient edifice. This is the path into which Ruprecht v. Deutz and the school of the St Victors, especially of Richard de St Victor, struck. In them we can discern the first faint dawn of a solution of the two questions above mentioned, on new and higher principles;—we see the beginnings of a Christology characterized by life and unity, instead of the artificial composite thing which had previously prevailed. This new tendency demands our attention at this point, because of the perceptible influence it had on the Christology of the thirteenth century.
Ruprecht of Deutz (he died about the year 1135) touches, in his writings, very frequently on the question as to the relation of Christ to humanity, and to the creation in general.1 Of this he takes a much deeper and more inward view than usual. A thought constantly recurring in his works is this,— Men were not created on account of the angels, to make up the full number of the chosen, after the fall of a part of the heavenly spirits: on the contrary, it is, he maintains, childish to suppose that, prior to the fall, God had no plan for the creation of humanity. It would be much more correct to say, that the angels themselves, as well as all other things, were created for the sake of a certain man; for the Scriptures teach, that not only by Him, but for Him, all things were made that are made; and designate Him the life of the world. Wisdom, which played in the presence of God prior to the creation, said, "My delight is fellowship with the children of men." Now what does this signify, but that,—Ere God created anything, the decree was that I, the Word of God, should become flesh, and should dwell in men in great love, and in the deepest humiliation, wherein consists true delight?—that even as the woman was created for the man, so also humanity was created for Christ, and that out of it His Church should be constituted? What stronger contrariety can be conceived than that between this view, which represents incarnation and union with God as belonging to the eternal Divine idea of humanity, and the usual one, which represents God and man as by their very idea eternally and mutually exclusive magnitudes?
Ruprecht, it is true, appears at another time to speak differently. For example, he says elsewhere, that if men had not sinned, there would have been no reason why the man Christ should be taken up out of his low and humble state into God. Still it was not his intention to teach that sin was the sole and entire ground of the incarnation; but merely, probably, that
1 Opp. T. ii. ed. Mogunt. 1631. For example, De glorif. trin. et process, spir. sanct. L. i. c. 5, 6, p. 141, c. 8, 142; L. iii. c. 7, p. 158, c. 20, 21, pp. 163, 164; L. iv. c. 2, p. 165, c. 6, p. 166. De Gloria et honore filii Dei sec. Ev. Matth. L. iii. 26; De Gloria Trinit. L. xiii. c. 19-21, in Joann. c. viii. The independent and original mind of this man has not hitherto been estimated according to its merits. It is well known, that he did not accept the doctrine of the annihilation and transformation of the substance in the Eucharist; but represented it rather as assumed by Christ, in a manner similar to that in which the Logos assumed humanity ;—an idea which was rejected by the Lateran Council under Innocent IV.
sin, and our very deep humiliation, were the means in the hands of the love of God, whereby He did that which He regarded as true pleasure, namely, condescended most profoundly, in His unutterable love, to our low estate. He uses, therefore, the bold language of love when he says, transporting himself as it were into the love of Christ,—Sin has the merit of having enabled Christ practically to carry out His delight in condescension to the furthest conceivable point. Moreover, when he speaks of the being raised up out of & state of humiliation, he refers particularly to the servant's form, the necessity for which he deemed to be attributable to sin. In general, however, he bases his reasonings on the idea of an eternal divine Bel, that to the Son of God should be given the fullest opportunity of revealing the love, which is His delight; and he carries out in all directions the idea, that the final purpose and goal of men and their history is Christ. This he presupposes relatively to sin; so also relatively to death. Men must needs die, and were not allowed to eat of the tree of life, because only on the condition of our being subject to death was it possible for Christ also to taste death, which formed part both of His infinite humiliation, of the revelation of the highest good, His love, and of our redemption.1 Indeed Ruprecht's entire doctrine of evil is not without its peculiarities. His attention was greatly taken up by the question,—Can God be said to have continued almighty, when evil came into existence, although He had not willed it? or should we not say that God willed the evil, inasmuch as He foreknew that it would arise? To this one may reply,—We read in Mark, that the Lord, although almighty, was unable to do miracles in a certain place; how much less could God display any sort of (miraculous) power in the evil spirits! Angels and men fell, not from power into defectiveness, but from defectiveness into defectiveness. Not as saints, as those who were placed in a strong tower of holiness, did they fall into that which is opposed to holiness; but they fell, to the end that they might become holy, and might gradually advance
1 Ruprecht therefore is not inconsequent, as Julias Muller maintains. He says, rather, in his " De Glor. et hon. fllii hominis," L. xiv.:—" Some Church teachers have supposed that evil was included in the will of God, because on its account the Son of God was compelled to become man. and to die."
thereto. The angel who through the fall became the devil, did not fall from holiness (for to holiness he had not yet attained), but sought his own pleasure, as though he were sufficient for himself; and this was not a falling out of virtue into sin, but a remaining in the Inanity in which he was created; which Inanity is a middle thing, between the true and holy essence of God, and that Nothing out of which God created all things. Other creatures return back into that out of which they were made—to wit, into Nothing: angels and men did not return into Nothing, so as to cease altogether to be; but, abiding in themselves, and despising the enjoyment of God, who alone is true Being, they are vain, yea, vanity itself; and the devil is not merely vain (vanus), but the Prince of all vanity. Besides, did not the Son Himself say that He could do nothing of Himself? Consequently, both the omnipotence and the goodness of God are preserved. Kuprecht supposes that everything that has an actual existence is the work of God;—that evil is not the work of God, inasmuch as it is simple Inanity, moral Nonentity, which seeks to assert for itself an existence independent of God, and to be sufficient to itself. Now, according to His righteous judgment, God cannot communicate Himself to such self-sufficiency. Evil entered without prejudice to the Divine power and goodness; and for this reason the wise God was compelled to become man, and to die for all; —otherwise, man could never have been saved. Immediately on these observations there follows a detailed discussion of the theme first mentioned.1 Every believer takes for granted, that the Son of God would not have become a mortal man, had not we men become mortal through sin. But a prior question still remains to be answered, namely,—Was it not somehow necessary for the human race, that the God-man should, in any case, become the Head and King of all? Concerning all the saints and chosen, it is certain that, independently of sin, each and all would have been born in their full number, according to the purpose of God, which He declared before the fall, when He blessed man, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply." Now, great as would be the absurdity of supposing that the first men would not have generated others without sin, or that sin was necessary in order that the many righteous men might be brought 1 Tom. ii. p. 135, in Matt, xxvi., "De gloria et honore filii hominia."
into existence, it would be equally absurd to suppose that, without sin, Christ would not have come into being at all; or, in other words, that sin was the principal cause of the incarnation of Him who is the Head and King of all chosen angels and men, and not the delight which His love takes in the children of men. This His counsel was not rendered futile by the entrance of sin, but those words were fulfilled, "Where sin prevailed, there did grace much more prevail." It became Him, by whom are all things, and for whom are all things, that, as the Captain of our salvation, He should be made perfect through suffering. Therein lies the weight of the paternal command, therein consists the beauty of the obedience of the Son of His love, that He humbled Himself, and that we through Him can approach the throne of grace with confidence. It is true, when we contemplate in spirit the heights of heaven, and behold there the highly exalted Son of God, sitting at the right hand of the Majesty, we may well tremblingly exclaim, What will become of us useless servants and sinners, for whose sins He endured such sufferings? But listen also, as to words spoken by Him who is meek and lowly of heart, to the words, "I also should not have been now so great, but for thee, and the sin of thy race." The ungodly became the cause of His being crowned; and therefore they may approach Him with hopefulness, if they believe.1 Because of the pleasure He took in the children of men, the name by which Christ most delighted to call Himself was, "Son of Man;" concealing His glory, displaying His humility. He designated Himself Son of man, specially, in order that we might feel ourselves to be very near to Him, aod might regard Him as our brother. For, why did He not, as He might have done, form a man out of the earth and take him upon Himself, instead of assuming our corrupt flesh 1 Because, in that case, the same flesh which committed the sin would not have atoned for it, and He would have been a stranger to us. Again,—Not an angel, but the Son of God, became man,2 because the strongest creature would have been unable to free us from the devil. Besides, it lay not in the power of an angel to become man and to clothe himself with a human soul. But His is the human soul no less than the spirit
1 Compare Commentatio in Joannem, cap. iii. L. iii. p. 263.
1 A. a. 0. 267
of the angels. For this reason are the spirits of angels and of men neither intelligible nor susceptible to one another: God alone, the uncreated Spirit, is intelligible to every rational creature.1 Not a messenger did He need, but a son, who should penetrate the human soul by the tender essence of His deity, and unite it entirely into one person with Himself, as a worthy price for the guilt of Adam, incomparably more costly than any angel. Thus it became Him; and the work accomplished by Him is the brightest ornament of His crown, the token no less of His grace than of His power; for by the weight of His cross He resolved, and He alone was able, far, very far, to outweigh our entire race.
Richard de St Victor occupied himself, in like manner, particularly with the question of the necessity of the incarnation of God, specially of the Son of God. He considered the ground of that necessity to be, that the deliverance needed to be in harmony with justice, and should, consequently, be combined with a satisfaction. Had man been redeemed by simple and pure compassion, without the co-operation of justice, there would have remained on him the eternal disgrace of his fall; and even if the devil had not constantly reproached him with the possession of that to which he had no right, man's own conscience, independently of any external accusers, would have reminded him of his unpaid debt; nor could he otherwise have ever entirely escaped from this claim and this disgrace. Now, however, pious believers may boast more of the satisfaction offered for their deliverance, than they previously experienced shame on account of their great fall; so much so, that, throughout the whole world, the Church can sing with all confidence, Verily, necessary was Adam's sin and ours, which is blotted out by the death of Christ! O fortunate crime, which was counted worthy of such and so great a Redeemer!2 But the satisfaction
1 From this we see, that he does not merely contrast the finite nature of man with the infinite nature of God; but, on Christ's account, takes such a view of the former, as involved its association with, rather than its exclusion by, the latter. The reason thereof, on the part of the divine, is the greatness of the love of God; on the part of the human, the depth of its lowness and need; which was in one aspect an attraction to the divine love, and in another aspect implied unbounded susceptibility.
3 Liber de Incarn. ad Bemh. Clarevall. editio Col. 1621, cap. viii. p. 429: "Nunc fidelium devotio magis gloriatur de redeiuptionis suao satis
offered must needs be proportionate to the presumption of man in falling. Adam's sin consisted in his exalting himself from the lowest to the highest. The satisfaction must, therefore, consist in a stooping from the highest to the lowest. For this reason alone, no man could redeem, but solely a Person of the Most High Trinity. Moreover, inasmuch as to be justified and made blessed is more than to be created, were a man the redeemer, a greater debt would be due to a creature than to the Creator, and we should, therefore, be under stronger obligation to serve the former than the latter. On the other hand, according to the standard of justice, men would be unaffected by anything which was not wrought by a human person; whereas it is reasonable that a brother should make satisfaction for a brother, and a son for his father. Accordingly, it was necessary that God, who stooped from the highest to the lowest, should become man (Note 56). He followed us into exile (de Immanuele i. x.); in Him God is with us, not merely in name, but substantially (c. xii.). Is He with us, then, merely in virtue of the presence of His majesty? But what would there be peculiarly great in God's being with men as He is with the devils? Substantially, He is everywhere. No; His personality is present, has its being, in our nature; and, in consequence thereof, He partakes of human nature, and we partake of His divine nature. He is God with us—the personal token of the restoration of our rights as citizens (signum repatriandi nos), the pledge of our future glory (c. xiv.);—through the incarnation, God became, as it were, one of ourselves. If, after the fall, it was only ironically, that one of the Trinity could say, "Behold, Adam is become as one of Us," now, on the contrary, we can exclaim with confidence, "Behold, God is become as one of us" (c. xix.). God, however, became man that man might become as God; so that the words, which, as spoken by the Father and the Spirit of Adam, could only have an ironical meaning, have become an actual reality in Christ—to wit, "Adam is become as one of us." In the Person of Christ, "man is become one of Us," because of His deity; God is
factione, quam prias confusa sit de tantse dejectionis opprobrio; in tantum ut ubique terrarum Ecclesia fidelium cum omni fiducia canat: O certe necessarium Adse peccatum et nostrum, quod Christi morte deletum est! O felix culpa, qua: talem ac tan tum meruit habere redemptorem!"
become one of us, because of His humanity (c. xx.). But even more,—that which holds good of Christ, holds good also of us, who are the first Adam. For, inasmuch as Christ is one of the Three Persons of the Trinity, does not Adam, being configured with the glory of Christ, become, as it were, one of them? The irony and reproach have been converted by Christ into seriousness and congratulation; the lie of the seducer, which promised man that he should be like God, has become truth;—behold, man is become as God, knowing good and evil,—nay, he has become very God—a thing of which the seducer could not have had even the conception (c. xxi.). (Note 57.)